Focus Magazine - Summer 2015 - (Page 17)

NEUROSCIENCE Merrill Collier Memory Garden Situational interest is what is needed for learning to occur. S ome experts say, "ere's no such thing as a poor memory, only a trained or untrained one." If you've ever seen a modern day memory demonstration, you might ask, "How is this possible?" e techniques are effective and evidence-based. Let's explore. Memory Evidence It's not memory magic. Much has been written on the neuroscience-based evidence behind memory. Critical success factors are: Interest. So obvious, it's overlooked. You have to want to remember. Mark Twain once wrote "Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it." It's a widely held belief that interest is a motivational force in learning. If the task is difficult but the learners are interested, they stick with it, and once accomplished, they feel rewarded. But different theories have emerged that emphasize the situational nature of interest. e trigger-maintenance hypothesis refers to a situational occurrence "triggered" when the learner senses a need to fill a knowledge gap. So, no need for passionate interest in the topic; a strong degree or continued level of situational interest is what is needed for learning to occur. Try this experiment: Notice how well you remember people's names one week aer meeting in two scenarios: 1) Whom you meet for business reasons, and 2) Whom you meet socially. Notice the difference in your recall a week later? If you've ever seen a memory demonstration where a person can call out everyone's name in a large conference room aer meeting each individual just for a few seconds, know that the demonstrator uses the situational interest principal combined with mnemonics to pull off an impressive memory demonstration. Context. Psychologists have researched environmental context as a memory cue since the 1970s. For example, one study demonstrated that learning different word lists in different rooms in a house produced superior recall versus learning all in the same room. Even though context associations may not occur by design, they can be leveraged for retrieval. e study also showed the amount of information recalled increases if learning occurs in different contexts. is provides evidence-based rationale behind the impressive Memory Palace memorization technique. In the 1980s, state-dependent encoding was further explored. One study showed that deep sea-divers who were asked to learn diving tasks either under water or at the side of a pool later demonstrated better recall under water. at provides evidence behind the theory, and explains why scenario-based objectionhandling improves sales reps' recall. Overlearning. Psychology professor Wayne Wickelgren confirmed, "the rehearsal of two items in close succession strengthens the association between them. erefore, the more associations that are strengthened for each item rehearsed, the better." e concept of overlearning provides evidence behind the effectiveness of repetition and reinforcement. Feedback. Feedback sustains interest and aids recall. Learners don't get bored and instead stay interested if they receive suggestions on how to improve. Psychologists tested learners on what they recalled one week aer reading a narrative prose. Half received feedback on knowledge of results, half didn't. ose that did receive feedback remembered more than those that didn't. is evidence supports the effectiveness of a class review of test answers right aer the exam, to improve recall a week later when test-takers are back in the field. I Merrill Collier is a senior manager of training & education at Thoratec. This article expresses the personal perspectives of the author. Email Merrill at FOCUS | SUMMER 2015 | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2015

Focus Magazine
From the President: Learning Delivery: What's Your Blend?
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Surviving and Thriving in a Volatile Industry
Directions: Let the Networking Commence!
Front of the Room: Dig Deeper
Neuroscience: Memory Garden
Sales Trainer Onboarding: A Fresh Approach at Bristol-Myers Squibb
Leading Cross-Functional Teams
Change Your Paradigm, Transform Your Network
What's the BIG Idea? 3 Tips to Open Doors
Is There a Kink in Your Leadership IV?
Identity Hubs: Secure, Productive Collaboration
How Much Will the Next 5 Minutes Matter?
Virtual How: How Companies are Centralizing Training Functions
Ad Index
Focus Contacts
5 Questions with Peter Bregman

Focus Magazine - Summer 2015